Wedding issues. Some people really like them, and some people don’t really care. I’m somewhere in the middle; if it’s good I’ll probably enjoy it, like when Cyclops and Jean Grey finally tied the knot way back. That’s an example of a good wedding issue. Astonishing X-Men 50-51 is another well-written, and even finds the room to touch on the fact that a lot of people have issues with gay marriage without distracting from the main event. The series even touched on those kinds of troubles for the rest of Marjorie Liu’s run. If it’s not a good wedding issue, I’ll forget about it moments after I finish reading it. Unfortunately, this is the latter.
Written by Cameron Stewart and Brenden Fletcher, Batgirl 45 opens up with an optimistic scene with Barbara enjoying final preparations with her friend’s wedding party. It’s harmless enough, but it’s a bit too cheerful for my tastes. It’s when Barbara goes to meet her wedding date, Luke Fox, when the issue starts falling apart. They only just started dating, and it’s generally a bad idea to take a new boyfriend/girlfriend to a wedding for so many reasons. It’s a bit of a cliché that people fall in love at weddings, but then they’re interrupted by Dick Greyson popping through the window.
As far as I know, Barbara thought he was dead until this very moment. Her reaction is very underwhelming if that’s the case. Her first question is “what are you doing here?” But the real problem is that Dick picked the absolute worst time to show up, and he’s a real dick about it. And why would Barbara follow him to a rooftop just to talk for a minute when the service is about to start? It’s at this point where everyone in this comic acts like complete idiots, when most of these characters are supposed to be smart. The flashback to when Dick and Barbara were young is kind of nice and some of the words they share feel dramatic, but they would have worked much better if their conversation wasn’t delaying a wedding.
Even ignoring these problems, the wedding is between a minor character and a barely existent character. It’s hard to care about a wedding if you barely know anyone involved. The end also feels cliché, and maybe even a bit creepy when Greyson watches Barbara dancing with Luke in the reception with a sad expression. I could go on about this comic’s problems but it’s not worth it.
The art by Babs Tarr is good. It carries the same charm that her other issues have, and the cute style works well for a wedding issue. The decorations in the wedding building look nice and there’s a well-organized montage for the start of the ceremony. The colouring by Serge Lapointe is good for the most part, but feels off at times. This is a very pink comic, to the point where sometimes Barbara’s red hair sometimes looks pink. Even the sky is pink while Barbara and Dick talk. The art is good, but don’t buy this if you don’t like pink.
Mostly good art aside, this is not a good comic. It’s full of clichés, mediocre writing, and a ridiculous conversation between Barbara and a friend she thought dead. Even the cliffhanger, while creepy, is underwhelming. Generally I’ve enjoyed Stewart and Fletcher’s Batgirl run, even the controversial issue 37, but this one’s a dud. Skip it.